Over the course of a week, I taste a bunch of wine, usually with friends, and almost always with my wife. Here are some of the wines we tasted over the past few weeks. These are wines that were not sent as samples—in most cases, I actually paid for these wines (although a few have been given as gifts).
2015 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley: Retail $80. I could count on one hand the number of times that I have tried Caymus. Why so little? Well, they have yet to offer me samples so that means I would have to buy it, and it simply is not my style of wine. I am not the world’s most fervent Cabernet drinker, and even less so when it is made in an over-ripe opulent style on a fairly large scale like this wine. Having said that, I can see why this wine has appeal: fairly dark in the glass with loads of rich and dark fruit on the palate (cassis, blackberry, vanilla). This is clearly meant for close to immediate consumption as the tannins are quite soft and supple already. On the other hand, this surprisingly works better with food—there is a minty note on the mid-palate that worked rather well with the grilled lamb. Again, not my style, but Outstanding on its merits. 90-92 Points.
2007 Dutton-Goldfield Syrah Dutton Ranch Cherry Ridge Vineyard Russian River Valley: Retail $60. An older Syrah from one of my favorite producers of Pinot Noir in the Russian River–sounds good to me. A bit dark in the glass for a Syrah, but the wine seems to be in incredible shape for a decade plus old wine. A touch of oxidation, a bit of stewed fruit, a hint of eucalyptus all on the nose, with more than an inkling of verve. On the palate, great, balancing acid, skids of the black fruit, and an intriguing depth of flavor that I usually associate with Pinot Noir. Depth, flavor, sexiness. All there. Without pretension. And that’s rare. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2017 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé: Retail $25. Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle, Syrah. Once rumored to be on the market, Château Miraval is still owned by the couple formally known as Bradgelina (or was it Brangelina?). I think the fact that it is half owned by the famed Perrin family (who makes the wine), kept it from being sold, but what do I know? I do know that this wine has been solid for years. Though it is available in most grocery stores with an even slightly above average wine department, that does not make it the enemy of the wine lover. Pale salmon with floral, melon, and light flinty notes. The palate is fruity, yet restrained in a perfectly Southern France style. A lengthy, melon and strawberry tinged finish rounds it out nicely. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
This week, I was away once again, this time in Napa Valley, but the wine consumption does not stop while I am on the road. My wife used to ask me to set aside a few wines for her to try while I am out of town, but when she became frustrated with my choices, I allowed her free range of the cellar. There are only two rules: she can’t drink the last bottle of anything and she has to write a tasting note. So here are her notes from the week:
The Drunkencyclist is again off on a wine adventure and that gave me the opportunity to raid the cellar, and I chose a go to a few favorites of mine.
2014 Axis Mundi Grenache/Syrah: Retail $25. Nice fruit – some dark cherry with a bit of acidity and overall good balance. Lighter in color and body than I expected and in general not a lot of depth. It’s a good every day red and for the price a solid choice. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2013 B Kosuge Pinot Noir The Shop: Retail $35. Byron is an all around terrific guy – humble, super talented and so generous with his time and talent. He takes such care in what he does and to me, it shows in all of his wines. This one is no exception and it has maintained its balance, its delicious flavors of blackberries and cherries with a bit of spice and its versatility. Had it today with Korean pork. One of my favorite things about this wine is the nose, which has dark fruits, a little vanilla and spice – love it!! Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2010 Tallulah Syrah Shake Ridge Ranch: Retail $35. 100% Syrah. One of my favorites! mellowed a bit from the last one I remember having a year or so ago. Still nice fruit – cherry, plum – and some earthiness. well-balanced and easy to drink without needing food. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: There is no doubt what wine my wife would choose for the Wine of the Week (WotW)—the 2013 B Kosuge Pinot Noir The Shop, it is easily her favorite wine vintage after vintage, and a wine that I always need to have on hand if I wish to stay married. But my wife is not choosing the WotW, I am. (I know that sounds defiant, but in truth, she is sleeping peacefully and waking her up to ask her opinion could prove equally challenging to our marital status.) This week, I am opting to run a bit against the grain and choose a wine that I did not particularly like all that much, the 2015 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. It is certainly not a wine that I typically prefer, but it is an iconic wine, one that every wine lover knows and most have tried. Is that caving? Is that selling out? Is that lame? Perhaps, but I can’t ask my wife her opinion. At least for another thirty minutes or so.
What was your Wine of the Week?